On October 11th, 2023 the Pines of Machias facility will mark its 20 year Anniversary! We will mark the anniversary with a day full of fun programs for our residents and a ceremony in the afternoon, commemorating the special day!
23 years ago, a man named Tom Schobert, Machias Nursing Home Administrator and Director, approached the county legislature about making renovations to a nursing home that was mostly built in the 1940’s. At that time, the Pines of Machias was attached to what is now called, the “Stone House” in an institution-type of layout that was typical of the time it was built. It had three units, North, South and Center, with rooms that housed 2, 3 sometimes 4 people to a room. They had windows that were too high to be seen out of and the dining room was in the basement!
In the early months of 2000, Tom went to the legislators about renovations needing to be made. In June of 2000, the NYS Department of Health recommended considering building a new nursing home instead of renovating the old one. On August 23rd, 2000, Legislators voted to authorize the Department of Nursing Homes to hire an architect to do the proposed designing of the new nursing home. After a long two years, on June 26, 2002, the Cattaraugus County Legislator approved the construction bids for the new building! On July 22, 2002, a ground breaking ceremony was held, and construction started right away!
In order to prepare for the move, Mary Klink, Director of Nursing, and Tom had to come up with a system that would make the transition as smooth and easy as possible. Did you know that they decided to use shopping carts to move people’s belongings?! In mid-September 2003, open houses were held to give the staff, residents, and resident’s families the opportunity to see the new building. Although September was the projected move in date, residents weren’t moved in until October due to construction still being underway. 20 years later- we still have a handful of those dedicated, passionate, and hardworking employees who made the transition from the old nursing home to the new.
Lisa Voigt, a Service Ward Clerk remembers the countless hours of work put into this transition. Resident rooms were labeled, med rooms and the clean linen room were stocked, and new medical record binders were created and placed on a rolling cart to be brought over. Lisa recalls the move starting on a Saturday, after breakfast and by lunch time, everyone and their belongings were moved into their new home. At that time, Mary Klink, D.O.N stayed all weekend at the facility to ensure a smooth and flawless transition. Some staff thought that the new building was big and confusing but had been patiently waiting for the move in day.
Jeanette Kent, former In-service/Infection Control Coordinator recalls the new building being the best thing to happen to this area. She was in charge of training the staff on all the new innovative equipment that was purchased, so with hard hats on, CNAs were taught how to use the new overhead lifts, and the standing lifts and learned the philosophy behind the new building layout. When the new building was built, a design that enhanced the emotional, mental, and physical comfort of all, was highly stressed. With dementia becoming more common in the elderly, many facilities lacked a safe, secure environment for them to live; leading to a secure unit being built, creating a much quieter environment for not only those living with dementia, but the rest of the residents as well. The smaller units not only created a home like environment where residents were no longer placed up and down the hallways, but it made it easier to control the spread of illness.
We are fortunate enough to still have a resident who made the transition from the old to the new building. Jeff Tesch, remembers it being a nice day on the day of the move. Jeff and 2 other residents, Tom Stumpf and Herbie Williams, were given the opportunity to pick out their rooms. Jeff recalls watching them build the new building from his old room and then watched as the old building was torn down, from his new room. One thing he says is really nice about the new building is that it has sidewalks and places to go outside. In the old building, he had to go to the basement and go out by the loading docks to get outside but even then, there was no room to roam.
We continue to be proud of the “house” our county had built and will always strive to make sure it is also a “home”. Thank you to all of the residents, staff, volunteers, families, friends and county legislators who have supported us throughout these 20 years. We appreciate you all!